Disorderly Conduct

To many people, an arrest for disorderly conduct may seem like something of a joke, a regrettable episode that did not result in an actual criminal charge. The truth, however, is convictions for these crimes can still have a significant impact on the lives of alleged offenders.

Even though disorderly conduct is only a misdemeanor offense, there can be cases in which convictions can result in jail sentences in addition to steep fines. Convictions have the potential to cause many possible difficulties when it comes to employment matters, the ability to find housing, or applying for loans from a bank. 

disorderly conduct

Disorderly Conduct Defense Lawyer in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, TX

If you were arrested for a disorderly conduct offense, be sure that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you when you appear in court to address these charges.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (940) 222-8004 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas. Our firm can examine your particular case and discuss all of your legal options with you.

Disorderly Conduct Charges in Texas

Under Texas Penal Code § 42.01, a person commits a disorderly conduct offense when they intentionally or knowingly do any of the following:

  • use abusive, indecent, profane, or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace
  • make an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace
  • create, by chemical means, a noxious and unreasonable odor in a public place
  • abuse or threaten a person in a public place in an obviously offensive manner
  • make unreasonable noise in a public place other than a sport shooting range or in or near a private residence that he has no right to occupy
  • fight with another party in a public place
  • discharge a firearm in a public place other than a public road or a sport shooting range
  • display a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm
  • expose their anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another person may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act
  • for a lewd or unlawful purpose, enter on the property of another and look into a dwelling on the property through any window or other opening in the dwelling, while on the premises of a hotel or comparable establishment, look into a guest room not the person’s own through a window or other opening in the room, or while on the premises of a public place, look into an area such as a restroom or shower stall or changing or dressing room that is designed to provide privacy to a person using the area
 

Criminal Charges Related to Disorderly Conduct

It is important to remember that the title of Chapter 42 of the Texas Penal Code is “Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses.” In other words, people facing these charges frequently face many other kinds of criminal charges in connection to disorderly conduct offenses.

Some of the most common can include:

  • Harassment — Texas Penal Code § 42.07 establishes that a person commits this crime if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, they initiate communication and in the course of the communication make a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene, threaten, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of the person’s family or household, or the person’s property, convey, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report, a false report, which is known by the conveyor to be false, that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury, cause the telephone of another to ring repeatedly or makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another, make a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection, knowingly permit a telephone under the person’s control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section, send repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another, or publish on an internet website, including a social media platform, repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to cause emotional distress, abuse, or torment to another person, unless the communications are made in connection with a matter of public concern.
  • Riot — Under Texas Penal Code § 42.02, the term riot is defined as the assemblage of seven or more people resulting in conduct that creates an immediate danger of damage to property or injury to people, substantially obstructs law enforcement or other governmental functions or services, or by force, the threat of force, or physical action deprives any person of a legal right or disturbs any person in the enjoyment of a legal right. A person commits this crime if they knowingly participate in a riot.
  • Stalking — Texas Penal Code § 42.072 states that a person commits this crime if they, on more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct that constitutes an offense under Texas Penal Code § 42.07, or that the alleged offender knows or reasonably should know the other person will regard as threatening, bodily injury or death for the other person, bodily injury or death for a member of the other person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship, or that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property, cause the other person, a member of the other person’s family or household, or an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship to be placed in fear of bodily injury or death or in fear that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property, or to feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended, and would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or death for himself or herself, fear bodily injury or death for a member of the person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the person has a dating relationship, fear that an offense will be committed against the person’s property, or feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended.
  • Obstructing a Highway or Other Passageway — Under Texas Penal Code § 42.03, a person commits this crime if, without legal privilege or authority, they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly obstruct a highway, street, sidewalk, railway, waterway, elevator, aisle, hallway, entrance, or exit to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access, or any other place used for the passage of persons, vehicles, or conveyances, regardless of the means of creating the obstruction and whether the obstruction arises from his acts alone or from his acts and the acts of others, or disobey a reasonable request or order to move issued by a person the actor knows to be or is informed is a peace officer, a fireman, or a person with authority to control the use of the premises to prevent obstruction of a highway or any of those areas mentioned above or to maintain public safety by dispersing those gathered in dangerous proximity to a fire, riot, or other hazards.
  • Dog Fighting Texas Penal Code § 42.10 establishes that a person commits this offense if they intentionally or knowingly cause a dog to fight with another dog, participate in the earnings of or operate a facility used for dog fighting, use or permit another party to use any real estate, building, room, tent, arena, or other property for dog fighting, own or possess dog-fighting equipment with the intent that the equipment be used to train a dog for dog fighting or in furtherance of dog fighting, own or train a dog with the intent that the dog be used in an exhibition of dog fighting, or attend as a spectator an exhibition of dog fighting.
  • Disruption Meeting or Procession — Under Texas Penal Code § 42.05, a person commits this crime if, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, procession, or gathering, they obstruct or interfere with the meeting, procession, or gathering by physical action or verbal utterance.
  • Silent or Abusive Calls to 911 Service — Texas Penal Code § 42.061 states that a person commits this offense if they make a call to a 9-1-1 service, or request 9-1-1 service using an electronic communications device, when there is not an emergency and knowingly or intentionally remain silent or make abusive or harassing statements to a PSAP employee, or knowingly permit an electronic communications device, including a telephone, under the person’s control to be used by another person in a manner described above.
 

  • Funeral Service Disruptions — Under Texas Penal Code § 42.055, a person commits this offense if, during the period beginning three hours before the service begins and ending three hours after the service is completed, they engage in picketing within 1,000 feet of a facility or cemetery being used for a funeral service.
  • Cockfighting — Texas Penal Code § 42.105 states that a person commits this crime if they knowingly cause a cock to fight with another cock, participate in the earnings of a cockfight, use or permit another to use any real estate, building, room, tent, arena, or other property for cockfighting, own or train a cock with the intent that the cock be used in an exhibition of cockfighting, manufacture, buy, sell, barter, exchange, possess, advertise, or otherwise a gaff, slasher, or other sharp implement designed for attachment to a cock with the intent that the implement be used in cockfighting, or attend as a spectator an exhibition of cockfighting.
  • False Alarm or Report — Under Texas Penal Code § 42.06, a person commits this crime if they knowingly initiate, communicate, or circulate a report of a present, past, or future bombing, fire, offense, or other emergencies that they know is false or baseless and that would ordinarily cause action by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies, place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury, or prevent or interrupt the occupation of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, or aircraft, automobile, or other modes of conveyance.
  • Destruction of Flag — Texas Penal Code § 42.11 establishes that a person commits this offense if they intentionally or knowingly damage, deface, mutilate, or burn the flag of the United States or the State of Texas.
  • False Report to Induce Emergency Response — Under Texas Penal Code § 42.0601, a person commits this offense if they make a report of a criminal offense or an emergency or causes a report of a criminal offense or an emergency to be made to a peace officer, law enforcement agency, 9-1-1 service, official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies, or any other government employee or contractor who is authorized to receive reports of a criminal offense or emergency, they know that the report is false, the report causes an emergency response from a law enforcement agency or other emergency responders, and in making the report or causing the report to be made, they are reckless with regard to whether the emergency response by a law enforcement agency or other emergency responders may directly result in bodily injury to another person.
  • Use of Laser Pointers — Texas Penal Code § 42.13 states that a person commits this offense if they knowingly direct a light from a laser pointer at a uniformed safety officer, including a peace officer, security guard, firefighter, emergency medical service worker, or other uniformed municipal, state, or federal officer.
  • Interference With Emergency Request For Assistance — Under Texas Penal Code § 42.062, a person commits this offense if they knowingly prevent or interfere with another person’s ability to place an emergency call or to request assistance, including a request for assistance using an electronic communications device, in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals, or recklessly render unusable an electronic communications device, including a telephone, that would otherwise be used by another individual to place an emergency call or to request assistance in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals.
  • Abuse of Corpse — Texas Penal Code § 42.08 establishes that a person commits this offense if they, without legal authority, knowingly disinter, disturb, damage, dissect, in whole or in part, carry away, or treat in an offensive manner a human corpse, conceal a human corpse knowing it to be illegally disinterred, sell or buy a human corpse or in any way traffics in a human corpse, transmit or convey, or to be transmitted or conveyed, a human corpse to a place outside the state, or vandalize, damage, or treat in an offensive manner the space in which a human corpse has been interred or otherwise permanently laid to rest.
  • Cruelty to Livestock and Nonlivestock Animals — Both Texas Penal Code § 42.09 and 42.092 establish penalties for offenses against animals.
  • Discharge of Firearm in Certain Municipalities — Under Texas Penal Code § 42.12, a person commits this offense if they recklessly discharge a firearm inside the corporate limits of a municipality having a population of 100,000 or more.
 

Disorderly Conduct Penalties in Denton 

Disorderly conduct is generally a Class C misdemeanor, possibly leading to fines of up to $500. A disorderly conduct offense can be a Class B misdemeanor if the offense involves a person discharging a firearm in a public place or displaying a firearm in a public place in order to calculate alarm and becomes punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Related criminal offenses can all have varying degrees of criminal charges, with some crimes also being misdemeanors but others being felonies.

Denton County Disorderly Conduct Resources

Lacour v. State, 8 S.W.3d 670 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000) — The Ninth Court of Appeals in Jefferson County overturned a jury’s verdict convicting David Lacour of disorderly conduct on legal sufficiency grounds, which made it a crime for a person to be naked in a “public place” if that person “is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.” The evidence showed that Lacour and about 100 other nudists were nude on a public beach, but the complainant was offended by this public nakedness when he took his family to the beach to fish and saw Lacour and the other nudists. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case to address Lacour’s other points of error.

In re Exp. of J.O., 353 S.W.3d 291 (Tex. App. 2011) — El Paso County appealed an expunction order in favor of J.O. related to an arrest for possession of marijuana under two ounces. The single issue saw the County contending J.O. not being entitled to an expunction because her subsequent conviction for disorderly conduct was the result of the arrest that she sought to have expunged. The Court of Appeals of Texas in El Paso reversed the trial court’s order granting the petition for expunction and rendered judgment denying the same.

Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for Disorderly Conduct Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

Were you arrested for disorderly conduct anywhere in Denton County? Our firm can sit down with you and go over all of the facts of your case while also outlining all of your legal options.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (940) 222-8004 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas.